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At least 1 coronavirus case in Martin County School District, spokeswoman confirms

At least 150 students, 12 employees under quarantine
Posted at 12:47 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 17:44:25-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — After just one week of school, the Martin County School District already has at least one confirmed case of COVID-19, a spokeswoman told WPTV on Monday.

Jennifer DeShazo, the district's director of public information and community relations, wouldn't elaborate on whether the patient is a student or staff member, or from which school the person attends or works.

However, DeShazo said at least 150 students and 12 employees are under quarantine because of possible cases of COVID-19 within the district.

The quarantines are impacting students and staff members at J.D. Parker Elementary School, Hobe Sound Elementary School, Seawind Elementary School, Jensen Beach High School and South Fork High School.

A total of 37 Jensen Beach High School students and 54 South Fork High School students are impacted, DeShazo said.

"We knew that this was a very real possibility that we've been preparing for with the health department," DeShazo said.

DeShazo added the Martin County School District and/or Florida Department of Health will contact parents and families if any further action is required of them beyond the quarantine.

"The school district takes this very seriously. The health and safety of students and staff is our top priority," DeShazo said.


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The 2020-21 academic year started in Martin County last Tuesday, and despite the confirmed COVID-19 case and multiple quarantines, DeShazo said there's been no discussion just yet about transitioning all students to full-time virtual instruction.

"If we get guidance that maybe warrants that, we will definitely look at all options on the table to protect students and staff," DeShazo said.

School district officials said they're in constant communication with public health officials, the Florida Department of Health, and local physicians on the district's Pandemic Response Team to determine the best course of action for the safety of students and staff members.

DeShazo urged families to keep their children home from school if they're showing any symptoms of COVID-19, or if anyone in their family is sick or awaiting a test result.

"We need our parents and our students and our employees to be mindful of their symptoms and to not, students should not be coming to school, employees should not be coming to work if they're experiencing symptoms of illness or if someone in their home is awaiting test results or has tested positive for COVID-19," DeShazo said.

Superintendent Laurie Gaylord said 38% of students in the Martin County School District are taking part in virtual learning at home, while the rest are opting for in-classroom instruction.

During an exclusive interview with WPTV last Friday, Gaylord said district officials were expecting children and employees to be quarantined.

"We know that this is gonna happen," Gaylord said. "There are gonna be children that do exhibit symptoms."

Gaylord added that a major part of stopping the spread of germs within schools is for parents and employees to play their part.

"I can't stress enough to families that if your child is exhibiting any type of symptom, they should keep them home," Gaylord said. "If you have family members in the home that are sick, keep your children home as well."